The development of a visible-light-driven, reusable, and long-lasting catalyst for the heterogeneous photo-Fenton process is critical for practical application in the treatment of contaminated water. This study focuses on synthesizing a visible-light-driven heterogenous bio-templated magnetic copper oxide composite (Fe3
/CuO/C) by a two-step process of bio-templating and hydrothermal processes. The prepared composite was characterized by field emission-scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM). The results reveal that the prepared composite retains the template’s (corn stalk’s) original porous morphology, and a substantial amount of CuO and Fe3
particles are loaded onto the surface of the template. The prepared Fe3
/CuO/C composite was employed as a catalyst for heterogeneous photo-Fenton degradation of tetracycline (TC) irradiated by visible light. The prepared Fe3
/CuO/C catalyst has high efficiency towards TC degradation within 60 min across a wide pH range irradiated by visible light, which is attributed to its readily available interfacial boundaries, which significantly improves the movement of photoexcited electrons across various components of the prepared composite. The influence of other parameters such as initial H2
concentration, initial concentration of TC, and catalyst dosages was also studied. In addition to high efficiency, the prepared catalyst’s performance was sustained after five cycles, and its recovery is aided by the use of an external magnetic field. This research paper highlights the development of a heterogeneous catalyst for the elimination of refractory organic compounds in wastewater.
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